Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend, and for a good reason. They’re loyal, comforting, and often a great way to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. They are pretty much always looking for fun and want to be as active as possible, so why not share their enthusiasm and have some fun whilst you keep active and get fit doing it? Try doing your exercise with your dog, and it’s a win-win situation!
No matter your fitness level, getting out of the house is pretty much always a good idea. Not only can it help you physically to get some exercise and change your routine, but it’s also good from a mental point of view and can help with anxiety and depression in some cases too. On top of that, it helps pass some time and cure the boredom you and your dog might be battling, too.
Let’s take a look at your options.
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Walking Your Dog
We’ll get the obvious out of the way first of all. Dogs need exercise just as much as we do to stay healthy and happy in everyday life. This is usually catered for just by going out for a stroll 2-3 times a day. That’s generally the minimum requirement and should be quite standard, but it doesn’t have to be a chore or monotonous. There are a lot of ways to mix things up.
You can change your route to see some new sights and let your dog explore the area to keep things interesting, or even take it further and spend some time really going to new places with your dog. Take a hike and explore the wilderness for a while. The addition of hills and other terrains will keep things interesting and really help to burn some energy!
The next step up from this may be a little more effort, but it can be far more rewarding for health benefits in the long run. Your dog is likely a better runner than you; it’s pretty common, so why not use this to help you turn up the heat with your exercise?
Running on a treadmill or even on the street can get boring from time to time, as most exercises do. Your dog could well be an awesome way to add variation to your exercise and even bring the potential for a new challenge to keep up with them. They can be your furry coach.
Dogs rarely lack energy no matter the exercise, so high-intensity training could be within their capabilities too. If you just follow the same principles as with running but exchange the constant speed matching your dogs to sprinting with them for a duration before walking or stopping for a short while, they can feel the same benefits as you do and even increase their stamina as well as their own in the long run.
It’s an awesome way to manage both of your calorie intakes, too, since our dogs are just as susceptible to weight gain as we are, and it’s always important to keep on top of things.
This one is a little harder, and you really need to trust that your dog will stay with you rather than veer off and stay by your side rather than wander around to check out their surroundings and get in the way of your bike.
It can go either way in terms of how they’ll do with it, as you don’t really have to put in as much effort as they do to maintain speed and could get tired before you do. Take it easy and ensure you find the right pace for both of you.
Yoga + Dogs = Doga
Finally, this one may come as a bit of a surprise, but yoga and dogs do actually come together quite nicely in a new phenomenon, that is, doga. Dogs, yoga, Doga. What could go wrong?
Your dog probably won’t quite reach the more advanced poses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t involve them in your own routine and exercise with them in a whole new way. Simply putting yourself into positions where you can stroke your dog or touch your head to theirs may well be enough, and you can even follow the stretches they do on their own. The downward-facing dog did get its name for a reason, after all.
Alternatively, if your dog is small enough, you may well end up going full lion king and holding him whilst you perform an array of poses, but only if your dog is comfortable. Yoga shouldn’t be forced on anyone or anything.
Finally, probably the most rewarding way to get some exercise with your dog is just to play with them as they know and love. Playing catch with them, chasing them or even play fighting still all burns energy and gets the blood pumping, so you can both stay happy and healthy. A tug of war can burn energy whilst you stand in the same spot. Fetch can too. You don’t have to match his energy; just have fun.
Your dog may not be in the best shape of its life, so make sure you take all of the precautions you would take for yourself and start off slowly, finding your limitations and doing what works best for both of you. You’ll both see the benefits in no time!
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.